Backcountry Ski on a Cinder Cone at Craters of the Moon

Rate this Adventure Idaho Craters of the Moon Visitor Center Parking

Added by Sara Sheehy

Backcountry ski on cinder cones, surrounded by fields of lava.

Craters of the Moon National Monument is 1100 square miles of basalt lava and sagebrush. It looks like another planet: desolate in macro, beautiful in micro. 

Craters is most popular in the summer, when visitors from nearby Sun Valley arrive to hike on sun-baked lava hot enough to melt their shoes.

Winter is a particularly quiet season at Craters, and one of the most fun. Strap on cross country skis and glide the six mile loop road through cinder cones and lava fields. When there is adequate snow cover, park staff groom the road for both skate and classic skis.

For the more adventurous, Craters allows backcountry skiing on the cinder cones. Though the grades are gentle, come prepared with the knowledge to read the snowpack and always carry avalanche safety gear.

Winter parking is at the visitor center, and all access into the park is via snowshoe or ski. Park entrance during the winter is free, and there is no fee to use the groomed trails.

Be sure to check Current Conditions before traveling to Craters, as the ski trails are dependent on a solid snowpack.

Pack List

  • Cross country skis, backcountry skis, or snowshoes
  • Avalanche gear if backcountry skiing
  • Plenty of layers, it's always windy
  • Food and drink (the closest convenience store is in Carey, 20 miles west of the park)
Read More

Share

Activities:

Skiing, Snowboarding, Snowshoeing

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Winter

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

2 Miles

Elev. Gain:

500 Feet

Features:

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Scenic

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!

Added by Sara Sheehy

Adventuress | Photographer | Writer

More Adventures Nearby

Scramble up Cervidae Peak

Idaho / Cervidae Peak Trailhead

From the peak the views are limitless, a full 360 degrees of landmarks like Lucky Peak Reservoir.

Caden Chandler
33 Saves

Backpack to Pioneer Yurt

Idaho / Hyndman Creek Trail

This trek starts about 25 minutes from Ketchum, Idaho at the Hyndman Creek Trailhead. As a general rule of thumb, Sun Valley is a great place to be in the fall, and this adventure is no different.

Dusty Klein
11 Saves

Hike the Pulaski Tunnel Trail

Idaho / Pulaski Tunnel Trailhead

Just outside of the town of Wallace, this trail is made for both the hiker and history buff alike. In 1910, the Northwest was experiencing one of the worst droughts on record.

Ashley Karsh
45 Saves